It is not my job or responsibility to present evidence to convince you of anything
I am presenting a historical discussion and presenting evidence from what I have found, and yes, mine, and other opinions as well as the documents. Documents are almost like opinions, it seems everyone has got them to support their case.
I used to only view history from the Southern perspective, as I am a Southern born, son of Ancestors from Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Tennessee and Virginia and Strangely, the one dissenting view point from Indiana.
As for those documents, they are worthless without supporting evidence, usually opinions. 5 people can read the same document, whether the Constitution, the Bible, or a letter, and you will have 3 to five differing opinions. It is ludicrous for me to expect others to view a document, and expect them to view it the same way.
I can produce, and have produced quotes of the people, and produced quotations of evidence from the historical record from the era, on both sides. I am looking at history and presenting both sides. If you read the Secession documents from many of the Confederate States Secession Conventions, they include language strictly about slavery. Taking those documents only, and not putting them in perspective, one can make the argument it is proof positive that Slavery was the cause of the War.
I can locate dozens of documents to counter that slavery was the only issue. I am not going to stand in judgement of them, or to say they are wrong and that I am right. I am not going to think the are intellectually deficient, as their perspective is just based on what they see, the pieces of evidence in the documents, and not a balanced view of the total picture, It is not simple black and white, not simple yes or no, it is highly complex. I can take those documents and from the Northern perspective, be able to argue that Buchanan and Lincoln were absolutely justified in what they did.
I can take the Southern perspective and argue just as staunchly as to why they were absolutely wrong. Government actions, just like with men, you have to look at motives, and what they are trying to accomplish. You look at their actions more than their words. when the words and actions are the same, you have the person, when you have words, but the action is the opposite, you have to look at motives and reasons why, was it due to other political influence, expediencies, were there other variables, involved, or was just saying what voters wanted to hear to get into office and then do what they wanted. All are important. Taking a piece of the puzzle and claiming that is what the whole puzzle is, can often lead to significant errors.
Do you think Lincoln was an evil Man?
Do I think Lincoln was an evil man, intent on destroying the nation? No I believe, he was a very genuine leader, who was dealt a terrible hand. I don't know why the man even wanted to be President? He was nobody's first choice, but he turned out to be the most electable, because he could get the votes from most of the Northern States. Interesting present day parallel, the records from the 2020 election Biden did not carry a lot of the Conservative states, but carried the States with the most Electoral votes. Lincoln did not carry a single Southern State, but was still elected. The South, right or wrong, felt for their own personal Survival felt no choice but to secede. It did not really matter at that point, if it is legal or not, they were forming a new country out of Self Defense, in order to maintain, the old constitution and their way of life previous to all the problems with, for, about the western territories and states, and the rancor over slavery.
Do you think Slavery caused the War? Do you think it had any importance on the War?
Do I think that slavery was one of the causes of the war, in spite of all the evidence that says it did? No, I don't think slavery in the sense of a moral compass or care for the human aspects was the reason slavery was a cause of the war. I do think it had a huge and relevant impact in the development of the War.
The record clearly shows that the rancor over slavery, was not out of human compassion, or moral compass of slavery, but by the majority of the North and South, it was about political control, and expansion of the business interests of the United States and/or their region, or personal pockets. I do not remember where I read this, and I regret that I cannot remember, I am thinking it is the book written by David Fisher "Bill O'Reilly's Legends And Lies," but the passage clearly shows, that the South was not being very well considered. The statement was to the effect, that Two Southern Generals, with two thirds of the Army composed by troops, whose fight with Mexico opened up all the western territory, could really have no say in what happened in those states, because those territories were hard fought and won by people won by all the United States, for the United States. Again, a point, of dismissal to the point of causing anger and resentment. Kind of like when I was in the National Training Center, one scorching summer, I found some ice dropped out a back of a duece and a half, which was sorely needed to keep it from frying my Engineers radios. I made the mistake of taking it to the Regimental Sgt Major, who took the ice and gave it to all the Regimental staff to keep their radios going, and my engineers did not get any. Fortunately, we had traced the BLUFOR trucks to their destination, snuck in, grabbed and liberated some more ice from the trucks. The Regimental SGT Major never saw a bag of ice from us again, or anything that was liberated, unless he asked, if we had anything extra. Based on my experience, I can related to the Southern frustration over the western territories, and feelings about the Union.
Again boils down to the viewpoint, and opinion who is right.
Is the Sovereign States?
They Almighty Federal Government. The South viewed it as each state had a sovereign right to decide for themselves, whether to haves slaves or not, something to be dictated by the Federal Government.
The Northern perspective was that the Federal Government was the top authority, and what they said goes, and that for the good of the Nation Slavery must be halted.
States rights was a real and very heated debate, that was legally in the Constitution, and that the Southern view was not that the State had the right to ensure that every citizen should have slaves, it was the freedom to allow every citizen who moved into the territory with slaves, or felt like they needed slaves, could have the freedom to choose whether or not to have slaves.
A similar political parallel today is again, all the Covid related divisions, Mask/No Mask, Lockdowns, Mandatory vaccines, vaccine passports, which in my opinion, is certainly headed in the direction of electronic vaccine passports. That issue will certainly add a new level over the debate if that enters in. The Conflict in the war, and now, can be summarized as a fight over freedom of Personal Choice.
The South simply wanted to have people to have the choice. If they wanted slaves, they could have them. It boils down to which perspective on slavery you view. I for one think Slavery, was a horrid institution, but believe it was a necessary evil, that was tolerated too long.
but then we would not have had the Country today, without it. I think it had is place and time, and it was time for it to removed.
Did I think the Federal Government had a right to interfere and limit, Yes they did. Did they Handle it right, No. Was the North right in what they did because of the National Sin of Slavery? No. They could and should have spent the money and incentives in the South, creating incentives to rid the South of slavery, by their own choice. Given an alternative, they could have handled things differently by their attitudes toward their diplomacy. The Northern style of Diplomacy, was to smile and speak Politely with a gunboat in the Southern Faces.
Was the US Government right in trying to provide supplies and reinforce the garrison at Ft. Sumpter. No. They should have pulled them out marched them to a port loaded them on a Civilian boat and hauled them off.
Do I think it was a mistake in the long run? Yes in retrospect, and with the luxury of time to analyze, it, there were other alternatives.
Were they available, and would they have made a difference? I don't know and I am not qualified to judge that. My personal opinion is, the politicians, let the problem go to long, and it ended in a unpreventable horrible and Tragic War. I believe by the time the war started, it was unavoidable, it was past being able to prevent it at that point. As Bruce Catton in his great book "Reflections of the Civil War", there has been that has shaped us like no other historical event since the United States was formed, has shaped the US like the Civil War did. He believed that the war needed to be studied, in order to understand how it shaped our country, where we are to day, to help us figure out where we are going. To keep building on the foundation left by others.
Do I think the Confederacy should have seceded? Yes, I believe it was the only way to change the gridlock and attitudes of both sides. I think by this time the South was so sick and tired of dealing with the North over slavery that it reached a point of no return., I think both sides wanted and needed a divorce, like a man with a angry nagging wife would do.
Did the South have the legal right to Fire on Sumpter? I think yes. Do I think it was in retrospect a good idea?
Yes, the South was driven, and I think forced into believing they had no choice. However, in retrospect, of the information an luxury of time to really analyze, they did have a choice, and could have avoided war. I cannot stand in judgement with them. From what I know, of the times, I would most likely have supported secession and shouldered a rifle under the Stars and Bars, even though my heart would be for the Union, my loyalty would have been for the South. If I had the luxury of being able to see, and know what would happen, and war could have been avoidable, I would have labored for the alternatives, and been like the delegates from Lawrence County, considered as A Union County, and the delegates Anti-Immediate Secession. But if nothing changed, even knowing the Consequences, would still have been with friends and family. I hate the Northern and liberal and sociopolitical viewpoint, the North was right, because no matter what, the South was guilty of Slavery, and the North fought for slavery.
Do I think the South thought in the Beginning that the North would actually go to war? Yes, I don't think they would go to war. I think they were viewing Secession as a legal separation. I believe most of them entertained the thought the could eventually reenter the Union.
I think the North, also Actually did not believe that the South would dare go to war with the North.
I believe that the Firing on Ft. Sumpter was a wake up call for both sides. And they realized it was going to take a war to stop the madness.
I also believe the records bear out that the North and South Thought the war would not last long. Both sides underestimated the other, both in military ability and in the civilian support. Records state that the South 1 Confederate could whip 10 Yankees. The Union thought, they were just a bunch of ragtag bunch of rabble, and would be easy to fight, because the lazy planters would send the barefooted ignorant backwoodsmen to fight. The North did not count on that a Large number of their Senior Officers of their Small standing Army would join the Confederacy. They did not consider that approximately 2/3s of the Combat veterans were in the South. They did not count on Southern ingenuity to be able to rapidly build and field a formidable Army, and a functioning Navy from Scratch. The South did not count on the Fact of the standing Navy, were well trained well equipped, and prepared, especially since many of her Navy men were from New England States and grew up on the sea, or had sailed a lot on the Great Lakes. They did not count on the need to build a formidable Navy. It takes a lot of time to fully train a Navy to combat effectiveness. The North could not dream the Confederacy could ever build a Navy that could actually challenge them, and sometimes actually be successful.
By 1863, all the advantages the South had, were countered and the South was left with a huge disadvantage. By 1863, Both sides knew they had to fight and end the War as soon as possible so it would not go on for years and years. After the Emancipation Proclamation, it was liberty by Winning or Death by losing.
I think it is something, the man whose election to the Presidency, triggered a War, and that Grant and Sherman the Butcher's were exactly the men who prevented the horrible and evil time of the Army of Occupation and Construction from being so much worth, and I think Lincoln's death, actually robbed the South of one of the few friends in the Federal Government. Even Sherman, in North Carolina, paroled and sent home the Army of the Tennessee. He could have confined them to military prison, he could have starved them to death, allowed disease to wipe them out. Sherman was soundly defeated, and yet treated the surrendering force with respect. There was still plenty of fight left in the Army of the Tennessee, just not enough men, ammo or food to keep going.
Grant the Butcher, treated Robert E Lee, his old West Point and Mexican War acquaintance with respect, and allowed him to send his troops home. He could have stuck to his orders of no paroles or exchanges. Grant, did not allow wide spread celebration in the ranks. he allowed them to take what few horses an mules he had left, provided them with food and medical treatment.
The War was not officially over, as Lee only surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia. He allowed officers to take their pistols and swords. He was acting as if the War was over, officially he did not not know for certain it was. Grant had actually no way of knowing for sure that Robert E Lee, and his men, would not by order of Jefferson Davis resupply, reorganize, and start again.
Grant actually took a huge risk, I believe He had faith and trust in the judgement, honesty and integrity of Robert E Lee. Bobby Lee told his men to go home and that they did. Lee told them their duty and portion in the War was fulfilled, and they were released from any confederate obligations. Lee realized it was futile to continue, He could not resupply his soldiers, no replacements for each loss, he was surrounded, he might have been able to escape and punch out, but he realized he would be just surrounded again. The Confederate Government was scattered, and with only two small armies left in the field in similar circumstances, outnumbered, almost no food, low on ammo, and virtually no source of resupply, it was no use to continue. General Hardee and Johnston in North Carolina, and Kirby Smith and Jeff Thompson, both realized as well, and began surrendering. They were sent home.
My wife's great great grandfather, was a first Lieutenant in the Arkansas 45th Cavalry. there is a photo of him taken after the war, wearing a greatcoat, and Confederate Cavalry Boots, standing next to a big white mule. According to the Family Oral History/Tradition, that mule was his mount at the end of the war, and he was allowed to bring it home so he could return to farming. As bad as it got, it could have been worse.
It is my opinion, that Reconstruction would have been different had Lincoln survived. I don't think it would have been as bad or as long.
I believe that Lincoln would have had the Country investing in the South, not allowing the Northern businessman swoop down, and then take the remaining money/ working capital and money up north to further punish the South and line their pockets. I do not believe Lincoln would have allowed the disenfranchisement of the Confederates, especially their political leaders, and former officers.
I do not think Lincoln personally, was not to have been the huge of an enemy to the South as they portrayed him. However, His Party and the Region he was from were definite enemies, and because he allied himself with the monsters, he was labeled as the biggest one. His VP and successor was denounced and impeached, because he was of southern origins, but by all appearances he was going to continue with the plans set forth by Lincoln.
The way the US treated the South in reconstruction continues to have a huge impact on Arkansas today. Half of Lawrence County was carved out to Form Sharp County, as a result of Reconstruction Politics. Reconstruction and its severity here, is one of the reasons today, the area, is still staunchly Democrat, and continues to vote by Party, rather than personal convictions. Most of the Democrat candidates and voters in this area, personally believe in the conservative views regarding abortion, LGBT, etc. But vote straight with the Party, and would be disowned by family and friends to even remotely support anything Republican. Truly Yellow Dog Democrats. However, There have been a lot more Democrats switching over to claiming to be Democrat but voting Republican, save voting for friends, family, and people they know personally. National voting Republican but local voting Democrat. Makes for confusing times now politically, as the secession and slavery issues of the day did then.